Paul Rudolf von Bilguer was born in Ludwigslust, Germany. He was the son of the Mecklenburgian Colonel and Commander A. L. von Bilguer and Luise (née von Hahn-Charlottenthal). His father was stationed as a Captain in Ludwigslust, when Paul Rudolf was born. He had four siblings, among them two older brothers.(1)
Bilguer was educated in a Pageninstitut in Schwerin, Germany from 1829 onwards. Under the guidance of Colonel Scheffer, he excelled at mathematics and also showed talent in other disciplines. He spend his leisure time with music and chess. He had learned chess at a very early age from his father. He deepened his chess studies later in Neu-Ruppin, Germany and was inspired by Angerstein in Brandenburg and Ludwig Bledow in Berlin.(1)
Bilguer wanted to study law. A military career became preferable due to the circumstances. He joined the Prussian 24th Infantry regiment in 1833, as his family wished. At that time, the regiment was stationed in Neu-Ruppin, later in Lübben and then back again in Neu-Ruppin. In August 1834, he became a lieutenant. He hadn't developed more enthusiasm for the practical duty, though, much to the chagrin of the stiff battalion commander Chlebus. Bilguer felt drawn to a more scientific activity. In order to achieve this goal, he went to the war academy (Kriegsakademie) in Berlin in autumn 1837. He soon became more and more valetudinary and he had to return to his garrsion and leave military. This was granted on 10 April 1839.(1)
Bilguer returned to Berlin and occupied himself with literature and chess. He wrote Das Zweispringerspiel im Nachzuge, which was published in 1849. He also published articles in several journals anonymously. He didn't earn much money thereby, though. He had overestimated his physical powers, his chest troubles (Brustleiden) having weakened his constitution too much. His condition worsened and he died in Berlin shortly before his 25th birthday.(1)
Bilguer was a member of the Berlin Chess Club, one of the 'Berlin Pleiades'. He was a strong player and very good analyst and was the author of the famous Handbuch des Schachspiels. Unfortunately, his early death at the age of 24 prevented his seeing its first publication in 1843.
This first edition as well as the four that followed were edited by his friend Baron Tassilo von Heydebrand und der Lasa, who named Von Bilguer alone as author. It contained comprehensive analyses of all opening variations then known, plus a section on the history and literature of chess.
(1) Reinhold Schmidt, Zur Erinnerung an Rudolf von Bilguer, Deutsches Wochenschach, issue 37, 14 September 1890, pp. 308-309
Wikipedia article: Paul Rudolf von Bilguer